Mexican President Felipe Calderón inaugurated line 12 of the Mexico City subway yesterday, which will incorporate 20 new stations and connect Tláhuac, a largely poor semirural area, to the city’s subway grid.
According to Calderón, thanks to the new “golden line”, which commemorates 200 years of Mexican independence, Mexico’s transportation system can compete with the best in the world. The system will now include 226 kilometers (140 miles) of tracks and 195 stations, and will provide services to 4.5 million people daily.
The project, developed by Mexican firms ICA and Grupo Carso, costs$1.8 billion. Spanish corporation Construcciones y Auxiliar de Ferrocarriles, S.A. (CAF) will administer and maintain the 38 trains that will run in the new line, the longest in the city and the first to operate automatically.
This line alone will serve more than 450,000 people daily in municipalities like Tláhuac, Milpa, Alta, Iztapalapa, Xochimilco, Benito Juárez and Alvaro Obregón. Users of the train will reduce average daily commute times from about 150 minutes to 78 minutes and a closed-circuit monitoring system will make them less vulnerable to insecurity. In addition, commuters will save about $1 a day by using the new line rather than taking multiple buses to reach their destinations. Mexico City’s subway fare is three pesos per trip ($0.23).
The golden line will also bring environmental benefits. New trains are expected to help reduce the number of cars and buses on the road, as well as improve air quality by reducing carbon dioxide by 22,000 tons a year.